LEPA breaks ground on $120 million power plant

Staff Writer
Plaquemine Post South
Shown participating in the ground-breaking are from left, Tony Calderone, Robins & Martin (contractor); Cedric LaFleur, past LEPA Board Chairman; Dennis Chianese, Burns and Roe (engineers); Morgan City Mayor Frank “Boo” Grizzaffi, LEPA Board Member; Joe Vumbaceo, Energy Resource Consulting; Terrebonne Parish Utilities Director Tom Bourg, LEPA Board Member; Vidalia Mayor Hyram Copeland, chairman of the LEPA Board of Directors; Cordell Grand, LEPA General Manager; Michel Claudet, Terrebonne Parish President; Plaquemine Mayor Tony Gulotta, LEPA Board Member; Jason Akers, Foley & Judell (bond attorney); Rayne Mayor Roland Boudreaux, LEPA Board Member; and Tim Matte, former Morgan City mayor and former LEPA Board Member.

MORGAN CITY - Plaquemine Mayor Mark “Tony” Gulotta participated in the ground-breaking of Louisiana Energy and Power Authority’s new $120,770,000 natural gas fired electrical power plant on Thursday.

The City of Plaquemine has committed to get a portion of its electrical power from the new plant.

The facility will be built at a site behind the Joseph Cefalu Municipal Steam Plant. The plant will be a 64 megawatt nominal rated natural gas fired combined-cycle gas turbine generating plant. The new plant is the first power plant to be built in the southern region of Louisiana in some 40 years.

“The CCGT technology is superior to conventional fossil fueled generating plants because of its higher efficiency, lower environmental impact, lower capital cost, and shorter construction time,” said Cordell Grand, General Manager of LEPA.  “Because the plant is fuel efficient, it will help stabilize the cost of electrical power for these municipalities by minimizing the impact of fluctuations in natural gas rates.”

Six LEPA member municipalities including Morgan City, Houma, Jonesville, Plaquemine, Rayne and Vidalia, have committed to participate in the project by entering into long term power sales agreements for the plant’s power output. 

“The plant is expected to supply these municipalities with competitively priced electrical power that will reduce their reliance on older, more costly electric supply options,” said Grand.

LEPA awarded the contract for construction of the plant to Robins and Morton Group of Birmingham, Alabama, and completion is scheduled for late 2015.

Gulotta has been on the LEPA Board of Directors for 22 years.

“This plant will provide us with options to keep electrical costs stable well into the future,” Gulotta said. “Without it we have no control.”

Gulotta also thanked the Plaquemine Board of Selectmen for their support of the project.

“Without their backing and vote, we couldn’t do this,” Gulotta said. “I appreciate their efforts and the trust they have put in me and LEPA to help keep electrical costs stable.”

Created by the Louisiana Legislature in 1979, LEPA consists of 17 Louisiana municipalities that each maintain their own independent municipal electrical system.